A year ago we set up a Facebook page in order to share old pictures and to enable people to make contact with their friends and families from The Commons and surrounding area.
This page proved to be a great success, reaching out to people from the area who now live in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, America and other places.
Over 800 pictures were posted on the page, some old and some taken at Christmas when the first Christmas lights were turned on in the village, one of the many community events that have taken place over the years.
It was decided to display these pictures at a Heritage Event in August entitled ‘The Commons Village Project’.
Also included in the exhibition was a model of the village as it was in the 1950’ and 1960s and a history of local people and committees that were in the village around that time.
Several people were interviewed (some in their 90th year) about their memories of growing up in The Commons around that time and these recordings provided the information necessary to rebuild such buildings that are not in the village presently.
These buildings we termed as Ghost Buildings and they comprised of a forge, a creamery, several shops and a cinema.
Children from the area took part in workshops to help recreate these buildings and their interest was heartwarming, especially when some of the children were migrants and we wanted to include them to help them integrate with the local community.
To say their delight on hearing we had a forge in the village was an understatement, especially when they had in their heads that it was weapons that were made in the forge, but to imagine a cinema in their little village caused great excitement.
Their imaginations were pushed further when told that the post office was also a clothes shop (albeit to supply the basic workman’s and workwoman’s essentials). In their heads all they could picture was a Penneys shop on the corner.
I would also like to add here that the interest in the village was re-ignited especially when we were looking for interviewees and this contributed greatly to the morale of the project.
It was decided to invite local artists to get involved in the project also and thanks to the Creative Ireland Programme we had contributions from three local artists who very proudly displayed their different talents.
The Commons Village project was proposed to them with the intention of enabling creativity in our local community whilst investing in our creative and cultural infrastructure.
It involved working with educators and 3rd level students as mentors working with children of the locality to visually present the village as it was 60 years ago. Local sculptor Katy Goodhue built as well as designed the model.
Thanks to Marion Cahill some of the exhibition was recorded and it can be found on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFBiJyDgl-E&t=70s
We would like to extend a big thank you to all those who helped in any way with the exhibition and it is hoped to develop the Village Project further over the winter months.
If you are interested in being interviewed or have some photographs or information relating to The Commons and surrounding area please log on to The Commons Past and Present facebook page or drop into the Old School for information on upcoming meetings.
We are always looking for people to share their memories of life in The Commons and surrounding area back through the years.